The Don’t List

The other day, I was sitting at a bar waiting for a friend. There were two people talking and I (of course) dropped some eaves. There were two young women sitting across from me and they were talking about something exciting. I don’t remember what it was but what did catch my ear was what one of them kept saying/shouting:


It was wince city for me every time she said it. Now, don’t get it twisted. I thought they were both beautiful, intelligent women and I think nothing wrong with them. The reason why I winced is because I say that a lot and I didn’t like hearing it from another person. I vowed to never do it again.

Sometimes we are smacked right in the face with how we don’t want to be. Sometimes, we don’t know what we want to be until something shows us what we absolutely do not want to be.

I’m not talking about being critical of people. I’m talking about how when we recognize the negative stuff we can identify our blessings. When we identify our fears, we can see what actually motivates us.

So, what gives you the heebie jeebies? Then, let’s look at the flipside of that. The flipside is where the magic is. It’s what we really want.

What’s your Don’t List?

11 Coco Chanel Quotes to guide you through life in style.

DON’T: Be catty. Don’t act bitchy because I think it’s “cute.” Don’t make snide remarks to be funny. Don’t justify my bad behavior because he/she/they do it to me. Don’t surround myself with other bitchy people who validate my feelings. Don’t romanticize bitchiness.

DON’T: Be irrational. Don’t be selfish. Don’t need to have the last word in a fight. Don’t refuse to take a second to see if I’m the crazy one.

“Don’t be cruel to a heart that’s true.”
-Elvis Presley

DON’T: Stop evolving. Don’t stop moving. Don’t get stuck in a routine. Don’t be afraid of change. Don’t stop believing in yourself. Don’t let small setbacks lead you astray. Don’t get comfortable.

What about you? What’s your Don’t List? Write it down and revel in another list that helps motivate you in being the most beautiful bad ass bitch in the universe.

Olla Swanson


Marin County: You’re Hot, Then You’re Cold


Marin County is filled with colorful sights like the Richardson Bay Marina lined up with beautiful boats awaiting their next adventure. Then, there’s the picturesque tiny shops stuffed with antiques, handmade jewelry and the rare vintage dress that you must buy while gallivanting the beaten paths of Pt. Reyes. It’s proximity to the City while having it’s own chill charm makes it the destination for those who want the best of both worlds.

On a whim, Stephen and I decided to skip one of our favorite campgrounds (Peninsula by the Folsom Lake) in lieu of something that promised cooler weather. Sacramento was having an exceptionally scorching heat wave and the thought of the cool coastal breeze enticed our senses.

1) Drive Through The Clouds


We drove up to Marin County into Pantoll Campground. The drive up the hill felt like moving into a different dimension. Below, at near sea level, we swept through some patchy clouds but more sunny rays. As we ascended Mount Tamalpais (Mt. Tam to the locals), we drove through the clouds. It was chilly and wet through the clouds and ethereal as the heavens. But even higher, were our camp was, we got above the clouds. It was clear and crisp. Cool and a bit hot.

2) Meditate At Stinton Beach


Right smack dab in the middle of the cloud dimension was Stinton Beach. The grey and tan beach was still warm and busy with families and kids mostly with the sweetest and happiest dogs on the planet. We shared some charcuterie, wine and a meditiation. Stinton Beach is such a friendly place to the senses. The feeling of the warm air and chilly cloud on my cheeks and the sound of  laughing couples and feet running through the sand is a perfect welcoming committee to Marin.

3) Hike To The Peak of Mt. Tam


There was only one other view that left me speechless and that was the Grand Canyon.

Across from the Pantoll Campground is the entrance to the Mt. Tam peak hike. Drive up the mountain for about 15 minutes and you’ll pass by at least a half a dozen professional photographers catching a view that you will never forget.

San Francisco is known for being foggy and as you ascend Mt.Tam, you can witness white, silky, feathery clouds pouring into the bay. When you start the hike (it’s only a half a mile roundtrip!) where you’ll see San Francisco as the cereal and the clouds as milk. At the end of the hike, you’ll see north and the view of the beautiful homes and countryside of Marin County.


It’s a view I promise you’ll never forget.

4) Go to No Name Bar in Sausalito

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Stephen and I popped into a local bar to play their open mic. No Name Bar is one of those no-nonsense, clean bars filled with older folk who want a dirty shot and a glass of the latest local brew.

While hanging out in the fully furnished and most instagrammable patio, I had started speaking to a group of gals and what started off as an analysis of whether or not to sit next to or across from your date turned into hours of gossiping, debates on feminism, creamery recommendations and then of course the exchange of numbers… because of course you find your kindred spirits at a bar in Sausalito.

5) Make Out In The Mist

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“Is it raining?” I whined as I stirred my brain to wake up.

“No, we’re in a cloud,” Stephen whispered from outside of the tent. He had been awake for a couple hours already and he encouraged me to come outside and check it out.

Everything was dewey and wet. You couldn’t see ten feet in front of you with the wisps of water floating in the air. The trees were dripping and hitting everything with a tiniest little splashes.

When you kiss in the mist, the mixture of cool and hot hits your brain like a hot fudge on ice cream. Always always make out wherever you can, but don’t skip out on the mist kiss. It’s a bucket lister.

Have you ever been to Marin County? What are your recommendations? What about experiences in changing climates in one day?

Do Yourself a Favor and Enjoy It


When my single friends say that they are pumped about a guy but they don’t want to get too excited, I say eff that! No way! Get excited! Let your heart melt. Stare at that phone, wishing he’d text you. Giggle, smile, jump up and down! You’re in love and it’s fucking beautiful!

But… secretly, I get it. No one wants their heart broken.

My argument is, YES. You do. You absolutely want to fall in love and get your heart broken.

But here’s the thing… I did have a situation in my life that helped:

I fell in love so hard and so fast.

One day I might share the whirlwind romance that happened when my husband and I met and fell in love. But to spare you some time (and maybe some lunch… we’re too much) the extreme short story is, I fell in love right away. I was so excited all the time to just think about him.

That feeling. That wonderful flying feeling when you’re connecting with someone… your heart stops and pounds a million times a minute at the same time. You can’t breathe but it’s like you’re breathing for the very first time. You can point out every song that was written about true love. It’s like you’ve been reborn. It’s like, suddenly, you know who you are. 

Love… or something like love… it’s a very rare feeling. You may have that feeling once in your life, if at all.

We all have been burned and it will hurt if it ends suddenly. But damn. It’s so much better to enjoy the time you have in this feeling than being blasé and so cool that you didn’t feel anything. Being so careful that you protect yourself is also so damaging! Pushing yourself away from the beauty of love and excitement can deny yourself of the real one true love of your life or any feeling at all!

If you’re feeling something that moves your body, something that lets your mind wander to the cheesiest depths of Lisa Frank magic, something that can’t define what is happening but you want to keep talking about it… live in it and enjoy it. When it ends, it may feel so devastating. But even that is the greatest feeling you might ever know.. .It the feeling that you still have dreams, hopes and desires.

When I met Stephen, my whole life changed. It was like I started blooming. I wanted to protect myself, but the feeling of just thinking about his smell or that I would see him soon was like electricity in my veins. The feeling was addicting. So I gave in to it and it was the best thing that I have ever done.

So, if you’re falling in love, don’t do that silly thing of protecting your heart. Get excited. You don’t know when you’ll feel this ever again.